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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Legal FAQ's

Read the general information on the Scouts Association If you require any additional information please email

In most cases yes, unless there is something the Scout Unit’s land title deeds which stops them from doing this. The full procedure for appointing the SATC as Custodian Trustee can be found on the website.

If the Group’s land is a freehold then they should own their building as well.

In leases, both the land and the building are owned by the Landlord (this is despite the tenant having paid for the building) unless there is some express agreement either in the lease itself or under separate head, stating that the tenant owns the building. Here, we cannot find any such express agreement in the lease terms. It may be that the landlord has perhaps accepted/acknowledged under separate head locally? If not undertaken already, this is something you may wish to check. Such agreements differentiating between who owns the land and the building on it are quite rare as the lease would then need to cater for what would happen to the said building if the landlord ended the lease. This usually takes the form of some monetary compensation from the landlord to the tenant and again we cannot see this in the lease. The way that tenants usually protect themselves in the event of expenditure on a building is by securing as long as possible on the lease to gain as much use out of the building as possible.

Information regarding the responsibility of boundary walls can be found on the Lease. Should the lease fail to document the responsibility of the boundary walls it is then a shared responsibility between the two parties that the boundary wall separates.

Find out more about property boundaries.

As with many Scout Group leases, the responsibility of tree roots is rarely documented on the lease itself. In the absence of this, the responsibility of trees is dependent on where the tree roots lie. Ultimately, if the tree roots originate from the Group’s land, the Group will be liable to maintain and prevent damages to the neighbour’s property.

The SATC has a set procedure for renewing Scout Group’s leases. This procedure can be found on the website under the section ‘Using the SATC’. The procedure outline each step that Scout Group’s need to take when renewing their lease.

If the Scout Group’s lease is held by local trustees and they wish to appoint the SATC as their Custodian Trustees when renewing their lease, the procedure for this can also be found under the same subsection.

Should you have any other queries regarding appointment of the SATC or lease renewals, please email

The SATC is no longer required to be a party to the licence agreement to hire out the premises.

In instances where the land is a leasehold, Scout Groups may need to contact the landlord to request their permission.

In cases where the premises are leasehold or freehold Scout Groups should ensure that the licence does not comprise a full disposal of the Group’s interest in the premises i.e. granting a lease to a third party.

If a Scout unit owns their freehold then they will be the ones who need to insure the building. If you have a lease, the document will usually tell you whether you are responsible for insuring the premises. For this reason it's worthwhile to check your land title deeds.

SATC can provide a Charitable Status Letter which is usually required by banks when setting up a bank account for a Scout Group. Kindly email with details of the Scout Group and we will be able to respond accordingly.

SATC can provide Camping and Caravan certificates for Scout Group’s. Please note, the certificates vary depending on whether the location of the campsite is in England or Wales. Kindly email with details of the Scout Group and the location of the campsite and we will be able to respond accordingly.

If the SATC holds title as Custodian Trustees for the Scout Group, the lease/deed will be held in our archives at the Scout HQ in Gilwell Park. If the Group does not have a copy we will be able to provide a copy if the Group sends an email along with the details of the Scout Group.

If the SATC does not hold title as Custodian Trustees for the Scout Group, the Group should be in possession of their own lease/deed. If the Group is for an unknown reason not in possession they should contact their Solicitors or Landlord. If both these options fail please contact the Land Registry directly.

If the SATC holds title as Custodian Trustees for the Scout Group, it is possible to sell the land, subject to the SATC procedure and Board approval. This procedure can be found on our website under the subheading, ‘Using the SATC’.

If the SATC does not hold title as Custodian Trustees, in general, if the Scout Unit owns the land outright, i.e. a freehold, and have a fully operational Executive Committee they are then entitled to make a decision to sell the land. In this instance, the Group does not need to seek the permission of both the SATC and The Association. However, we strongly suggest that you read the Guidance Note CC 28 from the Charity Commission website, which stipulates that the Group as a Charity must instruct a Chartered Surveyor to carry out a Section 119 Report before disposing of their charitable interest in the land.

Yes, it is possible for Scout Groups to end their lease before the term is over, subject to the SATC procedure and legal requirements. The lease can be terminated by way of a formal Deed of Surrender, which will dispose of their charitable interest in the land. According to the Charities Act 2011, the Group will need to instruct a Chartered Surveyor to obtain a
Section 119 Report. The full SATC Procedure for selling land can be obtained from the Legal Services. Kindly email with your query and details about the Group.

The Group’s governing document should be the Royal Charter 1912 and the Group’s Constitution. In absence of a Constitution the Group may use the sample provided in Rule 3.23 of TSA policy organisation and rules (POR) or simply mention POR.

As you'll be aware, the Trustee Boards of Scout Units (i.e. Groups, Districts and Counties) are the charity trustees and are responsible for the day-to-day management of the scout unit. Charity Trustees are jointly and severally liable for any agreements the scout unit has made including contracts, repair obligations and tenancies and where they have acted in breach of trust. The degree of risk of personal liability will vary according to the activities of the charity. However, it must be noted that very few trustees who have acted honestly suffer financial loss as a result of their trusteeship. There are risks, but they should be kept in proportion. It's unlikely that a charity trustee will be held personally liable if they act reasonably, comply with any governing document and take appropriate professional advice where necessary.